Local Artists Robert Batey & Dana Cohen exhibit “Branching Out,” panoramic photographs of the Smoky Mountains


“Branching Out,” a group of panoramic Smoky Mountain photographs in hand-built rustic frames begins its Knoxville show on February 6 and runs through March 6. “Branching Out” will continue its exhibit at The Tomato Head Maryville location from March 7 through April 4.

Read about the exhibit from the full press release:


Local artists exhibit photographs of Smoky Mountains
January 18, 2010

“Branching Out”, a group of panoramic Smoky Mountain photographs in hand-built rustic frames by local artists Robert Batey and Dana Cohen, will be on exhibit at the Tomato Head Restaurant on Market Square in Knoxville, from February 6- March 6, 2010. A continuing exhibit will be held at the Tomato Head’s Maryville location from March 7-April 4, 2010.

The photographs were created by Sevierville photographer Robert Batey, for exhibits commemorating the recent 75th anniversary of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Photography was instrumental in forming the park 75 years ago. Batey has photographed the Smokies for fifteen years, returning frequently to experience familiar places in new ways. “Nature inspires my search for beauty and mystery”, says Batey. “Experiencing the world through the lens provides a meditative way to explore nature and share my discoveries with others.”

Robert and his wife Dana Cohen collaborate on building the rustic frames. Our “elegant rustic” designs are inspired by the Great Camps of the Adirondack Mountains, first popularized during the late 1800s. “Being a photographer,” adds Batey, “it seemed only natural to combine my original nature photographs with some of our designs for a unique blending of rustic and fine art.”

Each one-of-a-kind frame is hand crafted from traditional birch bark and native materials gathered here in the Smoky Mountains. “Our design process is simple”, says Batey. “Nothing is predetermined. We start with a pile of branches and twigs and then work out a pattern, an idea. It’s very much an intuitive, sculptural approach.”All of our branches are taken from fallen trees or thinned saplings from the edges of utilitycuts”, adds Cohen. “We even use Hemlock, cut from standing dead trees killed by the Hemlock Wooly Adelgid. It gives them a new life.”

The artists, both trained as architects, have studied the rustic style from many sources, yet emerge with something unique. “We may start with an idea from a historic piece, and by the time we bring in our own style and use materials available, it becomes our own design,” Cohen says. Every piece is selected for its unique character, and its contribution to the overall design.


The artists enjoy working with homeowners and designers to create a one of a kind picture, entry door or custom piece for your home or office.
More information is available on their website at www.robertbatey.com. Robert and Dana
can be contacted at 865-774-5955 or rbatey@mac.com.